Here at Filmotomy, we have been aware of the short film, Mrs. Poucheau, by Amanda Lago, for a good few months. We saw it back in March, and were particularly impressed with the warm way in which the film is shot, and the story is told, even though under the surface this may not be a wholly happy tale.
Now in competition at the 3rd annual Femme Filmmakers Festival, we’re giving Mrs. Poucheau some more love. You can check out Bianca’s review reposted earlier today, as well as a chance to see the short film yourselves. But on top of that, I managed to get Amanda Lago to answer some of my questions about the film, and other things, too.
Robin: Other than film, what were your aspirations and dreams as a child and growing up?
Amanda: As a child I wanted to become a pianist, but dancing, performing and acting have always been there.
R: How did you first get started in filmmaking?
A: My mother didn’t let me study interpretation and as a young girl I didn’t see myself having the strength to disobey. So I decided to go into advertising, without really knowing why.
The good thing is that at my school we created a festival called “PUBLICATESSEN”, during which we had the chance to show our personal work. We came up with the ideas, we filmed, acted and did everything ourselves, and I enjoyed that. Following this I studied cinema.
R: I know you have worked on adverts, music videos, films on fashion. How do these varied film formats differ?
A: I don’t think they differ. On the contrary they are becoming increasingly related, converging into one another.
R: Where do you feel your greatest strengths are as a filmmaker?
A: To experience and inquire into human emotions, their psychology, complexity, fears, phobias, secrets, longings … Directing actors and improvisation is what I really enjoy the most. Intuition does the rest.
R: How did Mrs. Poucheau come about? Is it based on your own life in any way?
A: Always. These are recurrent issues in my life. When I thought of Mrs. Poucheau I was feeling very anxious; I wanted to capture that vital anguish, and turn it into something beautiful.
R: There’s a great beauty in Mrs. Poucheau, and a certain sadness. How do you blend the two extremes of emotion and vision on film?
A: I combine them in an organic and natural way. Feelings come to the protagonist naturally. One feeling leads to the next, in a confused whirlwind of emotions gradually building up until calm and forgetfulness return momentarily. And then it begins, for this is how she chooses too live, in an endless loop between two worlds.
R: Tell us about the woman in the film. How did you cast her?
A: I have worked with Cachito [Noguera] before. She was perfect for this role, it was made for her. Her tenderness, smiling and childish face, her look, expression and body – it was all perfect to interpret the woman who portrays all women.
R: Talk a little about your collaboration with the cinematography and editing, integral elements of the film’s impact.
A: Mrs. Poucheau is a very free piece. We went to a house in the mountains to record on a weekend. We took it as a game, a break, an improvisation based on an idea, a feeling and an inner voice . Camera, editing and music had to be in tune with that freedom of movement and expression. They had to be fragile, like her. Like life. And really just let Mrs. Poucheau (the doll) directs us, with us there to capture it all.
R: What do you have planned with regards to film?
A: The film has been released online a few months ago, with ample coverage. It has been selected internationally in selected festivals (such as yours), which I’m really pleased about. However, the truth is that I made Mrs. Poucheau to capture what I was feeling inside, to free myself from it and accept it.
R: If you could share three valuable tips to any young girls who want to make films, what would they be?
A: 1.Honesty. Be true to yourself. It is better to do nothing or wait for a better time than to do something just to barely like it. If you are honest with yourself, no matter what the rest think, you’ve already won.
2.Team. Although you are a fundamental pillar, you are nothing without your team. Ego out.
3 (And most importantly) Have fun.